A room in which even the existence of a floor is suspect? That’s a sure sign you need to an epic amount of de-cluttering!
One more for the road – the finale of the Explorers Inc. trip journal is upon us, so pack your rucksack and prepare to move out!
Okay, so, a week back, this happened:
On the wondrous website Comic Fury, it was Crossover Exchange time again – but this time around, things were a little more complicated. The premise was that of a ‘Character Exchange’, i.e, due to a bit of multiversal jiggery-pokery, the main character/s from different webcomics abruptly swapped places; causing no amount of confusion, antagonism and general hilarity as they attempted to adjust to worlds (and, frequently, genres) utterly alien to them. Slice-of-life characters found themselves in fantasy comics. Fantasy characters ended up facing down science fiction. Superheroes battled unfamiliar foes, or found new allies. Oh, what fun!
Gene, for example, vanished from Cosmos; only to be replaced by a very large, very blue and very devout alien crusader (‘The Knight’) from the comic Arkian, by a very talented fellow called Aran Frogatt:
Given how very different Cosmos and Arkian were (happy-go-lucky hijinks vs. far-flung sci-fi drama), I decided to present the story from The Knight’s perspective, as he attempts to wrap his head around both his profoundly-changed circumstances and the relentlessly-cheerful creatures he finds himself amongst….
Being of a religious bent, he interprets his experience as a test or trial set by the deity (Triberius) his culture venerates aboard the colossal starship known as The Ark; attempting to ‘do unto others’ as his training as a warrior, diplomat and keeper-of-the-faith would have him do – no matter how perplexing the actions of the local inhabitants may seem to him. Artie, Jenny and the others, meanwhile, deal with the cosmic switcheroo in truly commendable fashion: although understandably freaked out by Gene’s disappearance, and the arrival of a relative giant in their midst (Cosmosians are only about three feet tall, of course), they make every effort to to welcome him into the fold and figure out a way to return him home; and even remain respectful of his religious beliefs and general philosophy, despite their far more secular upbringing – perhaps not something that would have happened if he’d ended up somewhere else. I felt that after so many years of hard slog in his own universe, where enemies were everywhere, The Knight deserved a bit of a chance to unwind!
But what about Gene? Confounding Artie and Co’s expectations, the character exchanges were far more random than Person A swapping directly with Person B (and I’m sure The Knight was very happy about that) – there was actually quite a bit of shuffling going on in mid-teleport. Well, with a bit of help from Professor Pod, Artie was able to mount a rescue mission, and track his erstwhile friend down:
Another day, another stunning set of exotic locations!
The further adventures of Explorers Inc., in sketchbook form!
As you may have noticed, Comic Fury’s Crossover Exchanges generally conform to a seasonal theme – the usual inclusions being Easter, Summer, Halloween and Christmas, with a few wild-card entries thrown in to spice things up (*cough cough* as you’ll see in the next installment massive spoiler *cough cough*). For the Easter 2017 Crossover Exchange, I was served up the semi-autobiographical, partly social-commentary and sometimes risque comic XCP, short for ‘Xailenrath Comics Presents’:
While mostly serving as a repository for random comics the artist – Octavius – can’t fit into his other webcomics (and he’s done a fair few, just sayin’), the majority are the pithy observations of a cartoon version of himself, sometimes joined by an equally cartoony version of his partner Lucy; so I decided to have the pair – the closest thing the series has to main characters – meet up with the Cosmos gang for some ‘slightly left of centre’ Easter fun. And what fun it was!
In a bit of a departure from my usual working process, I decide to draw all the characters in the final panel individually and lay them over the top of a vector art background created in Adobe Illustrator – this allowed me to A) give the high-tech looking room nice, clean-edged shapes, B) reposition the floor / walls / balcony (all on separate layers) so everything was at the right height relative to the characters and props, C) allow me to scale each character so they were all in proportion to one another, and D) create the ‘holographic keypads’ Gene and Octavius were using to play video games and easily slot them in between them and the other foreground elements when I did the final page assembly. A bit fiddly, but definitely a system I’d use again….